The phrase “multidimensional anger” explains anger in terms of its effects on both emotions and overall well-being. Anger can affect a person’s physical health in several ways, including causing digestion problems and high blood pressure. Anger may also be a symptom of a mental health condition, such as borderline personality disorder.

People are turning to social media to learn more about their personalities — for instance, by completing the multidimensional anger test currently trending on TikTok.

The multidimensional anger scale is a test a person can take to check their susceptibility to anger and lessen its impact on their well-being.

This article will explain what the multidimensional anger scale is and what it means. It will also detail the effects of anger on mental and physical health, as well as ways of managing emotions.

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The American Psychological Association (APA) explains anger in terms of a person feeling antagonism toward another person, or an object, that they feel has deliberately done them wrong.

A study from 2016 found that 7.8% of the United States population experiences “inappropriate, intense, or poorly controlled anger.” Men and younger adults most commonly experience anger, and it is linked with reduced psychosocial functioning.

A person can check their susceptibility to anger using the multidimensional anger scale. The scale is based on the work of Dr. Judith M. Siegel, which dates back to 1986. The study reported 84% test-retest reliability and 89% internal consistency of the scale.

Test-retest reliability measures how consistent the results are when repeating the same test at different times. Internal consistency is a measure looking at the correlations between different items that are on the same test.

The test in modern times

IDRlabs developed an online version of the test, which trended on TikTok. It maps a person’s experience of anger. The test requires a person to answer a 38-statement survey relating to different aspects of anger, including:

  • Anger arousal: How quickly a person switches to anger.
  • Anger spectrum: How easily triggered into anger a person is.
  • Hostile outlook: How distrustful of others a person is.
  • External anger: A person’s tendency to display their anger outward.
  • Internal anger: A person’s tendency to hide their anger away.

The test asks a person to agree or disagree with a variety of statements using a five-point sliding scale. Statements include:

  • “I have met many so-called experts who are no better than I.”
  • “I get angry more frequently than most people I know.”
  • “I get angry when I do not get proper credit for something I have done.”

The test’s developers say it has good psychometric properties, including high validity and test-retest reliability. So, researchers and clinicians often use the test.

They have found the test relevant to a person’s anger, physical health, and stress response.

However, it is important to note that the survey’s developers never intended for it to give the level of diagnosis or advice of a qualified mental health professional.

The multidimensional anger test can help a person to learn more about their anger. The test may help in various ways, including:

  • helping better manage anger
  • identifying areas of improvement individually
  • improving physical and mental well-being

It can also help a person understand whether they are at risk of developing an anger or aggression problem. For instance, if a person scores high on the anger arousal questions in the test, they may benefit from seeking professional support to develop better anger management strategies.

The effects of anger extend beyond a person’s emotions. It can also affect a person physically by triggering the sympathetic nervous system, known as the “fight-or-flight” response.

The adrenal glands release stress hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, into the body. The brain takes blood from the digestive system and pushes it to the muscles, ready to escape from the perceived threat.

The heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing rate must increase to help with this effort. This, in turn, raises the body temperature and leads to sweating. The mind also focuses, ready to take action.

Feeling angry on a regular or ongoing basis can cause various health problems, including metabolic changes.

Medical professionals do not define anger as a mental health condition. However, it can be a symptom of certain mental health conditions, such as:

  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD): This condition involves a pattern of anger or irritable mood, defiant behavior, and vindictiveness.
  • Conduct disorder: This condition involves a persistent pattern of repetitive behavior in which a person violates the rights of others, including aggression toward people and animals, destruction of property, deceitfulness, theft, or serious violation of rules.
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD): This personality disorder is often rooted in childhood trauma, which manifests as intense mood dysregulation, including episodes of severe anger and difficulty controlling it. BPD is a pervasive pattern of instability in interpersonal relationships and self-image.

Visit our mental health hub to learn more.

The APA suggests several methods for managing anger. These range from a person changing the way they think to using humor to diffuse the feeling of anger.

Relaxation

Focusing on daily relaxation can help calm feelings of anger. For instance, a person can try:

  • breathing deeply from the diaphragm rather than from the chest while visualizing the breath rising from the lower abdomen
  • slowly repeating a calming word or phrase, such as “relax” or “take it easy,” as they breathe deeply
  • visualizing a relaxing experience from their memory or imagination
  • doing light and slow yoga-type exercises to relax the muscles and leave them feeling calmer

Read more about relaxation and tips here.

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring means changing the way a person thinks. The method involves trying to replace negative thoughts with more positive ones.

For instance, a person might be prone to thinking things such as, “This is awful, and everything is ruined.” However, they can try replacing these thoughts with something such as, “This is frustrating, and it’s understandable that I’m upset, but it’s not the end of the world.”

Read more about cognitive restructuring here.

Problem-solving

The problem-solving method rests on the premise that the best way for a person to tackle a situation that causes them to feel anger is not to focus on finding a solution.

Rather, they should focus on how they handle and face the problem. Then, they should be less likely to lose patience and have an all-or-nothing attitude, even if they cannot solve the problem immediately.

Communication

Communication, in this context, involves a person slowing down to stop themselves from saying the first thing that comes into their head when they feel angry.

It requires the person to listen to the other person’s words before responding. This pause may help a person understand another’s point of view. For example, if a person says, “You go out too much,” they may actually mean, “I would like to spend more time with you.”

Humor

Humor is a great diffuser of anger. One technique that uses humor to help prevent a furious outburst involves some imagination.

When a person gets angry and calls another person a name or uses an imaginative insult, they can stop and picture what that name or insult would look like if it were actually right in front of them.

Environment

People need “time out” to be able to cope with the stressful aspects of life. Scheduling quiet break times can help reduce feelings of overwhelm that could result in irritation or fury.

Learn more about ways to manage anger here.

Multidimensional anger explains anger in terms of its effects on mental and physical health rather than as simply an emotion.

The multidimensional anger scale, currently trending on social media, requires a person to answer a series of questions to help them better understand their susceptibility to anger. This, in turn, can help them put in place strategies to improve their well-being.